December Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

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december things to do in chicago

december things to do in chicagoDecember is here!

If your calendar isn’t already chock-full of dinner and holiday parties with family and friends, family vacations to warmer climes, or ski trips to the mountains and you’re looking for something to do with the kids in and around Chicago this month, here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Ongoing for all of December:

1. Ice Skate in Millennium Park

Skating is free, skate rental costs $12, and there’s free skating lessons Fri-Sun an hour before the rink opens. From December 21-31 during Winter Break, there will also be various lessons and programs (ie. speed skating and ice dance demos) an hour before the rink opens, except for Christmas Day.

2. Browse an Open-air European holiday market 

Christkindlmarket on Daley Plaza has German foods, handmade gifts, traditional art, carolers and choirs – and best of all, is free.

3. See the Christmas lights at the Arboretum 

Visit the one mile walk of interactive laser lights and colorful lights adorning the trees, followed by a sit by the fire pit at the Morton Arboretum.

4. Watch the holiday trains in Lincoln Park 

For a fun free activity, go see the model trains chugging through a miniature village tucked among the Poinsettias at Lincoln Park Conservatory.

5. Experience holidays around the world 

The Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibition at the Museum of Science & Industry has decorated trees representing other cultures with ethnic song-and-dance performances on weekends. Closed on Christmas day.

Date-specific Events: 

6. See the classic A Christmas Carol live 

Introduce your little ones to the classic about Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future.

Showtimes and locations include:
• Dec. 2 – 23: Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace (family version)
• Dec. 2 – 27: Goodman Theatre in Chicago
• Dec. 4 – 24: Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights

7. Winter WonderFest 
Dec. 5, 2015 – Jan. 10, 2016

The free (if crowded) Winter WonderFest in the Festival Hall at Navy Pier has music, carnival rides, and other entertainment. Closed Christmas Day.

8. Gift hunt for some unique handmade gifts at the gift market
December 3 – 6, 2015

Handmade gifts by 600 artists at the Merchandise Mart

9. See the Christmas lights at the Brookfield Zoo
December 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, and 26-31

Songs, lights, lasers, magic, and animals at the Brookfield Zoo – what could be better?

10. Visit the model train show 
December 12 – 13, 2015

LEGO Train Show features a huge diorama of trains that run past skyscrapers, brick mania, and kids’ crafts, plus a ticketed party the first evening in Wheaton. Free except parking.

11. Enjoy a Japanese dance and drum show 
December 19 – 20, 2015

Japanese dance, drumming, and street theater with Taiko Legacy at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

As you can see there’s plenty of winter things to do in Chicago, so bundle up the family and get out there to enjoy some winter and holiday magic with all the lights, hot chocolate, Christmas carols and winter wonderlands you can handle!

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